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Thursday, September 22, 2016

“Crescent Moon” (Vol. 1–6), by Haruko Iida

176–184 pages, Tokyopop, ISBN-13: 978-1591827924 (Vol. 1); ISBN-13: 978-1591827931 (Vol. 2); ISBN-13: 978-1591827948 (Vol. 3); ISBN-13: 978-1591827955 (Vol. 4); ISBN-13: 978-1591829522 (Vol. 5); ISBN-13: 978-1591829539 (Vol. 6)

I’m trying something different here as I review an entire series in one fell swoop. Crescent Moon is the English title of the shōjo manga Mikan no Tsuki (literally, An Incomplete Moon), written by Haruko Iida in partnership with Red Company, a video game developer and publisher based in Japan. It was originally published in Japan by Kadokawa Shoten, the publishing arm of the Kadokawa Corporation, beginning in 2000 and serialized in Asuka Comics; it was translated into English by Tokyopop into six volumes, which is the version being reviewed here.

It became evident early on that this was a manga aimed at young adults or even tweens, but seeing as I inherited the Collector’s Gene from my father I was utterly incapable of not buying the series in its entirety; luckily for me, it ran to only six volumes, so my investment was slight (also, if I had investigated what shōjo meant, it would have been obvious). The story focuses on Mahiru, a young girl who has felt out of place her whole life. Partly, this is due to the fact that she dreams constantly of a love song about a demon and a girl and sees things nobody else can while looking into the water. Also, she may be the unluckiest girl ever, as all of her good luck seems to pass on to others, keeping none for herself. One day she accidentally runs into onto a boy who is being chased by the police, and mysteriously she seems to have some kind of effect on him as his features change slightly, only for him to get angry and run away. Later on she meets him again and three other guys, but…THEY AREN’T HUMAN! Nozomu is a vampire, Akira is a werewolf, Misoka is a fox, and Mitsuru is a tengu (a legendary creature found in Japanese folk religion). They are from a dying race called the Lunar Race and Mahiru is the descendant of their princess. She is the only one who can provide them with enough power to retrieve the Drops of the Moon and save their people. Will they save the Lunar Race? Will Mahiru find out what her dream means? And who are those people who are determined to eliminate their race?

As a Manga, I don’t think it’s controversial to say that it is the art that drives the work, and the art of Crescent Moon is a mixed bag, to say the least. The characters are all rather dull, looking far younger than they are supposed to (although perhaps that is because they are the Lunar Race?); they should be each be around 17-years-old and one of them is even 21-years-old, but they don’t look more than 13-years-old at the most. Some other, minor characters just sometimes look weird. I will say, however, that her backgrounds are splendid, with countless details and few blank spaces. Next come the characters, led by Mahiru, who is boring at best without any kind of personality to speak of (oh well; at least she wasn’t annoying as too many tween girls can be). The four main guys were interesting, although you get to know Misoka and Mitsuru better because they are more important for the plot (their transformed designs were quite good, too). As a whole the storyline is cool but the story itself feels underdeveloped; it had potential be more interesting and intense. The romance feels underdeveloped, as well; you know who-likes-who but it doesn’t really show, which is bad as this is supposed to be a shōjo.

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